ATG Split Squats: How to Perform, Muscles Worked and Benefits

  • ATG split squats work several muscle groups at once, which maximizes muscle activation.
  • ATG split squats helps strengthen the lower body such as the quads, glutes, hams, and calves.
  • ATG split squats can help you increase the mobility of your hips and ankles by squatting deeply.

ATG Split Squats

Are you looking to improve your leg day routine? ATG split squats are a great option to do so. For those looking to advance their lower body workout, this sophisticated variation of the standard squat exercise is a game-changer. This detailed guide will show you how to perform ATG split squats correctly, the muscles that are engaged, and the amazing advantages this exercise provides. This exercise is appropriate for all fitness levels, whether you are a seasoned gym goer or are just beginning your fitness journey. As you engage multiple muscle groups at once, get ready to face challenges with your balance, stability, and strength. ATG split squats will make it easier than ever for you to reach your fitness objectives, from developing your glutes and quads to enhancing your athletic performance. So gather your dumbbells and get ready for some ATG split squat calorie burning!

How to Perform ATG Split Squats

ATG Split Squats

ATG split squats are an adaptation of the standard split squat exercise, also referred to as ass-to-grass split squats. This exercise requires stability and balance, making it a difficult but effective addition to any lower body workout regimen. Follow these steps to perform ATG split squats:

1. Positioning: Place one foot in front of the other while standing with your feet hip-width apart. The front foot should be far enough forward so that when you lower into the squat, your knee will form a 90-degree angle.

2. Engage your core: By pulling your belly button toward your spine, you can engage your core muscles. Your body will be more stable throughout the exercise as a result.

3. Lower into the squat: Start by bending your knees and bringing your body closer to the floor. Keep your back straight and your torso upright.

4. Go deep: As you descend into the squat, try to keep your back knee as parallel to the floor as you can while still maintaining good form. The exercise is known as "ass-to-grass" because of this.

5. Push through your front heel: Push through your front heel to get back to the starting position. To do this, contract your glutes and quads to help you stand up again. Throughout the motion, maintain control.

6. Switch legs: Change legs and repeat the exercise on the opposite side after completing the required number of repetitions on the first side.

To get the most out of ATG split squats and prevent injury, proper form and technique are essential. Let's look more closely at the essential components of carrying out this exercise properly.

Proper Form and Technique for ATG Split Squats

In order to engage the right muscles and reduce the risk of injury, maintaining proper form is crucial when performing ATG split squats. You can improve your form and technique by following these advice:

  • Stance: To begin, adopt a relaxed stance with one foot in front of the other. The front foot should be far enough forward so that when you lower into the squat, your knee will form a 90-degree angle. Maintain a forward-facing gait with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Alignment: Maintain proper alignment by keeping your shoulders back, your spine neutral, and your chest raised throughout the exercise. Do not bend forward or round your back.
  • Controlled movement: Slowly and deliberately lower into the squat, concentrating on contracting your glutes and quads. To move more quickly, avoid rushing or using momentum.
  • Depth: Strive to squat as deeply as you can, bringing your back knee as close to the floor as you can while still maintaining good form. This will make the exercise more difficult and more effectively engage your muscles.
  • Balance and stability: Balance and stability are maintained by evenly distributing your weight between your front and back feet. Do not lean too far forward or back.
  • Breathing: Take a breath in as you squat down and a breath out as you push yourself back up to the starting position. Throughout the exercise, don't forget to breathe steadily.

The effectiveness of the exercise will be maximized, and the risk of injury will be reduced, if you perform ATG split squats with the right form and technique.

Muscles Worked During ATG Split Squats

A compound exercise that simultaneously targets several muscle groups is the ATG split squat. You can increase your lower body's strength, power, and stability by using these muscles. ATG split squats primarily work the following muscles:

  • Quadriceps: During ATG split squats, the quadriceps, which are found in the front of your thighs, are the main muscles targeted. When you lower into the squat and push back up, these muscles—which are important for extending your knee—are actively used.
  • Glutes: During ATG split squats, the glutes—composed of the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus—are also heavily worked. These muscles stabilize your body during the exercise while also being in charge of hip extension.
  • Hamstrings: The hamstrings, which are found at the back of your thighs, work together to help you perform ATG split squats. They help the quadriceps with knee extension and give your lower body stability.
  • Calves: During ATG split squats, the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles are activated as stabilizers. They give your lower leg stability and aid in maintaining balance.
  • Core muscles: During ATG split squats, your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, are engaged to maintain stability and control.

ATG split squats provide a thorough lower body workout that can enhance your athletic performance by strengthening, toning, and increasing the size of these key muscle groups.

Benefits of ATG Split Squats

The advantages that ATG split squats provide make them an excellent addition to any leg day routine. Some of the main benefits of including ATG split squats in your fitness routine are as follows:

  • Increased muscle activation: ATG split squats work several muscle groups at once, which maximizes muscle activation and encourages balanced muscle growth. This can assist you in developing a lower body that is more proportionate and sculpted.
  • Improved lower body strength: ATG split squats can help you strengthen your lower body by focusing on the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This can enhance how well you perform in other exercises and sports like running, jumping, and squatting.
  • Enhanced balance and stability: An improved sense of balance and stability is necessary for performing ATG split squats, especially when using weights. You can improve your overall balance and stability and lower your risk of falls and injuries by putting your body through this kind of physical challenge.
  • Functional strength development: ATG split squats are a great exercise for enhancing your ability to perform tasks that are frequently required of you in daily life and sports. This can help you perform better when doing things like lifting things, climbing stairs, and playing sports.
  • Increased range of motion: ATG split squats can help you increase the mobility of your hips and ankles by squatting deeply. Athletes and people who must carry out movements requiring a wide range of motion may find this useful.
  • Time efficiency: ATG split squats work several lower body regions in a single exercise by working several muscle groups at once. This can help you work out faster and enable even busy days to fit in a thorough leg workout.

You can get these advantages and increase the intensity of your lower body workout by including ATG split squats in your fitness regimen.

ATG Split Squats vs. Bulgarian Split Squats

Due to their similar names and movements, ATG split squats and Bulgarian split squats are frequently mistaken for one another. Although they both focus on the lower body and have many advantages, there are some significant differences between the two exercises. Let's compare Bulgarian split squats and ATG split squats in more detail.

ATG split squats are executed by putting one foot in front of the other and squatting deeply with the goal of bringing the back knee as close to the floor as you can. The quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves are just a few of the muscles that are worked during this exercise. The deep range of motion and emphasis on balance make ATG split squats especially difficult and helpful for developing lower body strength and stability.

Bulgarian split squats, however, involve elevating the back foot on a bench or step that is behind you. Your back knee should be as close to the ground as possible as you squat down while keeping your front foot on the ground. Bulgarian split squats mainly work the quads, but they also, to a lesser extent, work the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This exercise emphasizes unilateral leg strength and stability, making it a valuable addition to any lower body workout regimen.

Both the ATG split squat and the Bulgarian split squat can be added to your leg day routine to add variety and challenge. You can target different muscle groups and increase the strength and stability of your lower body by incorporating both exercises into your workouts.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During ATG Split Squats

ATG split squats are an excellent lower body exercise, but there are some common errors that people frequently make when performing them. Avoiding these errors will help you maximize the benefits of your workout while lowering your risk of getting hurt. When performing ATG split squats, keep an eye out for the following common errors:

  • Leaning too far forward: One of the most frequent errors made when performing ATG split squats is leaning too far forward, which can cause your lower back to experience excessive strain. Keep your torso upright and your chest raised throughout the exercise to prevent this.
  • Losing balance: It can be difficult to keep your balance while performing ATG split squats, especially the first few times. Start by doing the exercise without any weights to develop your balance, then add dumbbells or a barbell later on.
  • Not going deep enough: ATG split squats are intended to be performed with a deep range of motion, aiming to bring the back knee as close to the ground as possible. The effectiveness of the exercise may be hindered by not going far enough. Maintaining proper form is key; over time, work on gradually increasing your depth.
  • Allowing the front knee to go past the toes: When performing ATG split squats, you run the risk of putting too much pressure on your knee joint. To prevent this, make sure to advance your front foot sufficiently so that your knee remains behind your toes throughout the exercise.
  • Rushing the movement: To maximize muscle activation and reduce the risk of injury, ATG split squats should be carried out slowly and carefully. To complete the exercise more quickly, avoid rushing the movement or using momentum. Pay attention to using your muscles and keeping your balance throughout the entire range of motion.

You can safely and effectively perform ATG split squats and get the most out of this demanding lower body exercise by keeping an eye out for these common mistakes and concentrating on proper form and technique.

Incorporating ATG Split Squats into Your Workout Routine

Whether you're a novice or a seasoned gym goer, you can include ATG split squats to add variety and challenge to your leg day routine. The following advice will help you incorporate ATG split squats into your exercise regimen:

  • Warm-up: It's critical to warm-up your muscles and get your body ready for the workout before beginning any lower body exercise, including ATG split squats. Start with some easy cardio to raise your heart rate and warm up your muscles, like jogging or cycling. Leg swings and walking lunges are dynamic stretches that you can do after this to work your lower body.
  • Choose the right weight: When beginning to perform ATG split squats, it's crucial to select the weight that will challenge you without compromising your form. Start by performing bodyweight squats to perfect your form, then gradually add dumbbells or a barbell to up the difficulty.
  • Include ATG split squats in your leg day routine: As part of your leg day routine, perform ATG split squats: Perform ATG split squats as part of your leg day routine following compound exercises like squats or deadlifts. By doing this, you'll make sure your muscles are warmed up and prepared for the challenge. Aim for 3–4 sets of 8–12 repetitions on each leg, with a 1- to 2-minute break in between sets.
  • Progress gradually: As you get more proficient at ATG split squats, add more weight or perform the exercise on an unstable surface, like a balance board or Bosu ball, to make it more difficult. This will enhance your balance and stability and further activate your stabilizer muscles.
  • Combine with other lower body exercises: ATG split squats should be combined with other exercises that concentrate on various muscle groups to produce a well-rounded lower body workout. Lunges, step-ups, and calf raises are a few examples of such exercises. By mixing up your workouts, you can avoid getting bored and make sure that you're working all the important lower body muscles.
  • Listen to your body: As with any exercise, it's critical to pay attention to your body's signals and modify the intensity or range of motion as necessary. Stop performing ATG split squats immediately and speak with a fitness expert or healthcare provider if you feel any pain or discomfort.

You can challenge your lower body, enhance your strength and stability, and more successfully reach your fitness goals by incorporating ATG split squats into your workout regimen and heeding these suggestions.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

ATG split squats are a very powerful lower body exercise that can advance your leg day regimen. ATG split squats help you develop strength, increase muscle tone, and enhance your overall athletic performance because they work multiple muscle groups at once. This exercise can be modified to fit your fitness level and goals, regardless of your level of experience working out. You can maximize the advantages of ATG split squats by concentrating on proper form and technique, staying away from common errors, and gradually advancing your workouts. Grab your dumbbells and get ready to use ATG split squats to test your strength, stability, and balance. Your legs will appreciate it.


  1. Kipp, K., Kim, H., & Wolf, W. I. (2020). Muscle Forces During the Squat, Split Squat, and Step-Up Across a Range of External Loads in College-Aged Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Publish Ahead of Print. ‌
  2. MACKEY, E. R., & RIEMANN, B. L. (2021). Biomechanical Differences Between the Bulgarian Split-Squat and Back Squat. International Journal of Exercise Science, 14(1), 533–543.


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